We welcomed new and returning friends to playgroup this week!
We will gather around clay each time we meet. It's nice for children to encounter a familiar activity upon arrival. They feel confident to enter playgroup, explore the material and use it in new ways.
During UpCycle's Materials Playgroups we set up experiences to make children think and make connections between experiences and various materials.
We have been noticing the children's strong interest in balls and rolling them down tubes and gutter pieces. We invited the children to experience clay and the tubes in a new way. We connected these two activities! This prompted delight with the children as they immediately understood the connection. They tested small and large clay balls, flattened balls and lumpy balls. Some went fast, others slow. And guess what! Rubber balls bounce; clay balls do not! It is exciting to watch children create new understandings and connections by joining what they see and experience with previous understandings.
At the easel we continued the "round" idea. The children painted the round shapes of apple box dividers.
The teachers, caretakers and parents in the class are partners with the children-thinking in new ways. It's all about connecting!
Your children are problem solvers! They are natural scientists investigating and observing with keen eyes. They are actively engaged in figuring out how things work or fit.
During Playgroup, you and your child have uninterrupted time together to make discoveries. You are also able to gently guide new skills.
Times when we can give our undivided attention to our children are invaluable. Children learn not only that they are important and loved by you but that they are capable and fun to be around!
Helping your child's growing self-confidence and self esteem will help them to build loving and supportive relationships all their lives.
Engaging children in conversation as they work affirms their efforts and natural curiosity.
Describe what you notice them doing:
" I see you made a long green line."
" I see your brush going round and round, like circles."
" You pushed so many straws into the clay!"
Comments that describe what a child is doing encourages them to work longer and think more deeply about what they are doing. The child is being affirmed for his or her exploration and risk taking.
Like any good thing, don't overdo it! When children (and adults) are working intently, sometimes words are interruptions.
We are looking forward to seeing all of you this week!
At playgroup this week we offered several activity centers and materials to investigate. One mom commented that she liked how everything in the room was a "yes" for her son. At home he is interested in his older brother's toys and is often steered away. At UpCycle, we plan activities that are just right for our playgroup participants.
The children manipulated clay upon arrival. Gathering together on the floor around hunks of clay, children became acquainted with the properties of this elemental substance. It's all about action! We poked, pinched, pounded, and rolled the clay.
An activity we call "dip and stick" is a great way for children to begin understanding the possibilities of glue. This week the children dipped corks and green tops and pressed them on a vertical board. The children watched the corks sliding down the board--an encounter with gravity!
Each week we set up a sensory experience to include filling and dumping, tactile and sound experiences. We also provide regular painting and gross motor explorations.
Children can move between activities freely, staying engaged as long as they like. It is a lovely time for parents and caregivers to discover and explore together without distraction! If you are not enrolled - please come and join us!
On Sunday, July 24, Kevin Bacon delivered bottle caps from Port City Brewing Company to UpCycle. Kevin's organization SixDegrees.org uses everyday activities to connect celebrities and causes like ours. Thanks, Kevin, for raising awareness about how UpCycle connects creativity and conservation through reuse art!
This week, our preschoolers are using boxes to explore and create at UpCycle. Inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell and Robert Rauschenberg, we will provide experiences that build to the creation of several pieces of artwork. We invite families to an art show at the end of the week to see all of the work created during our time together (Friday at 12:45 pm).
Today, we gathered around clay. This is an exploratory and social experience that helps us get to know one another and share ideas.
In our small groups, we talked about creative reuse and arranged boxes on previously used canvases. Then we added texture to the canvases with tissue paper and watered down glue. We will continue to work on this piece throughout the week.
In another small group experience, we explored building up with cardboard and cork. We tried to dip and stick our materials so that the cardboard would stand up. We found many solutions to this challenge and several incorporated friends' ideas in their work.
We look forward tomorrow!
--Kelley & Susan
Job Announcement: Store Manager, UpCycle Creative Reuse Center
Are you a self starter who enjoys working with people and helping others think creatively? UpCycle is seeking a part-time Store Manager to operate its reuse center shop.
UpCycle is an Alexandria based non-profit that inspires creative reuse and environmentally sustainable behavior by operating a reuse center where the public can donate and obtain cast-off materials for art and learning purposes. We’re a thrift store for craft supplies!
Along with managing the day-to-day operations of the shop, UpCycle is looking for someone who would like to manage a store that showcases the amazing supplies UpCycle CRC has to offer the DC Metro region!
This is a part-time position of 15 hours/week that are divided over 3-4 days. Currently, the shop hours are Wednesdays 3 – 7 pm and Thursdays & Saturdays from 10 -2 pm. Compensation is paid hourly and will be commensurate with experience. As UpCycle continues to grow, we anticipate that opportunities for Store Manager responsibilities and hours to grow.
To be considered as an applicant, e-mail your resume and letter of interest to Kelley Organek, Managing Director, at Kelley@UpCycleCRC.org. Include in your subject line: “UpCycle Store Manager.” Any questions about the position may be directed to Kelley Organek at the e-mail address listed above.
Thanks for your interest!
“Materialized Magic” is a community art project that provides free lessons, for people of all levels of experience, in crocheting, knitting, and felting. Participants will learn about Erika and Stacy's plan to fill an entire gallery space with needle felt and crochet pieces. You can make pieces for the installation or make something all your own. The workshop is lead by 3rd annual CRAVE grant recipients, Erika Cleveland and Stacy Cantrell. FREE, best for ages 5+.
UpCycle will host Materialized Magic on:
Wednesday, March 9th from 6 - 8 pm
Saturday, April 23 from 10:30 - 1:30 pm
Saturday, May 28th from 10:30 - 1:30 pm
CLICK HERE for more information about Stacy and Erika's CRAVE micro-grant.
Here are pictures from our March 9th event: